On Sunday, April 25, Kevin Gibson, Attorney General of the Associated Students of the University of California filed charges against President elect Noah Stern of Student Action party for campaign violations. During the two weeks prior to the election, numerous candidates and their supporters can be spotted around campus (most notably Sproul Plaza) handing out flyers and carrying signs with names of candidates and voting numbers to remind students to vote. However, there are a list of rules and regulations “to ensure a fair democratic process for both candidates and voters… extra-legal action that gives a candidate, or a candidate’s party, even the slightest additional advantage over another candidate or party delegitimizes the ASUC elections process, undermines faith in Cal’s elected officials” as stated by Gibson in his charges.
There are three major charges brought forth to the ASUC Judicial Council. First of the charges is the spamming of students requesting their vote in the election. According to Title IV Article 12.5 of the constitution, an infraction is administered for “using e-mail lists or posting boards to campaign, with spam” which is correspondence sent to an individual when the author had no pre-existing relationship with the recipient, nor requested permission from the leadership to send correspondence from the student group, nor actually being a member of the organization. Gibson’s investigation found that a minimum of ten such cases have been discovered, and even more but who do not wish to bring charges for fear of “retribution.” The second of the charges is the solicitation of campus dorms for votes. Title IV Article 12.3, section 13 clearly addresses this issue, specifically citing “pressuring residents to vote for a certain candidate, party, proposition, initiative, or referendum; walking with a laptop with the intention of asking students to utilize it for the purposes of voting; and disregarding orders or warnings given by a Residence Hall official.” However, Stern was seen in Unit One’s academic center, hallways, and lounge area soliciting votes.
The greatest of the charges is voter fraud. There were two different incidents regarding this accusation. First, Stern was seen at a sorority event at Blake’s bar and restaurant with his laptop and acted as student Roy Pfaffman while casting a vote on his behalf online for the elections, presumably with the intent of voting for himself a second time for the office of President.
This was in direct violation of TITLE IV ARTICLE 16.2, which simply states “No student will attempt to vote more than once.” The second incident took place at a soccer game, where Stern spoke with student Axel Prompt with his Blackberry and was quoted saying “if you are tired, I will help you [vote in the election].” Prompt in turn voted on a nearby laptop and Mr. Stern did not move the required 20 feet from a polling location (in this case, the laptop), as stated in TITLE IV ARTICLE 3.4, section 4.
These charges are very serious with respect to the integrity of student elections and will likely result in Stern’s resignation or forced removal from his previously elected office along with the potential mandate that he can never run for office again for the ASUC, as he is a Sophomore and conceivably could run again for election the following year. Any officer can have up to five sanctions against them for campaigning violations, but these different incidents result in far more than five sanctions, and if he is found guilty of even a portion of these activities, it is likely he will not be able to serve as president next academic year.
If he resigns before the first official meeting in August, CalServe candidate Eunice Kwon will become the new president as she was the runner up in the election. However, if Stern resigns at the first meeting, the Senate will be responsible for selecting another student to serve as president for the remainder of the year.